Ole Miss Select Rebel Black Bear As New Mascot
Back on February 22, we posted the story of the Ole Miss students trying to select Admiral Ackbar, the commander of the Rebel Alliance Fleet in the Star Wars universe as it’s new school mascot. Well after seven years since Colonel Reb was removed as the teams mascot they school has picked Rebel Black Bear, who won 62 percent of the vote in a final poll.
The schools who’s motto is “we may lose a game, but we never lose a party” began stripping away its images of the Old South back in 1999 as the confederate battle flags were the first to go then mascot Colonel Reb, the goateed Southern planter who cheered on the Rebels from the sidelines since 1979.
Picking a replacement became a matter of statewide import and in the end, the smiling black bear inspired in part by longtime Oxford resident William Faulkner won out, defeating two other nominees. One was the “Rebel Land Shark,” based on the “fins up” hand motion started by late football player Tony Fein. The other was “Hotty Toddy,” a gray human-like character that aimed to personify a school cheer that begins: “Are you ready? Hell yes! Damn right! Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty! … “
The black bear is connected to Ole Miss through Faulkner, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who penned “The Bear.” In it, Old Ben stands as a symbol of pride, strength and toughness. The tale of the “teddy bear” originated with the story that President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear on a Mississippi hunt in 1902.
Margaret Ann Morgan, a co-chairman of the student mascot selection committee, said the bear was recommended because it had a Mississippi connection, would appeal to children and would be unique to the Southeastern Conference. More than 13,000 eligible voters voted in the final poll.